Orange Coast College’s construction projects remain on schedule despite some of the workers having to stay home because of the COVID-19 quarantine.
Some construction workers in California have been deemed as essential employees by Gov. Gavin Newsom and are allowed to stay on the job while meeting social distancing requirements.
“We have so much suffering around this and so much pain around us. I’m so appreciative of all these essential workers. They are doing a great job. They're keeping our economy going. They are essential,” said Rich Pagel, vice president of Administrative Services.
OCC’s construction crew sent home all their nonessential employees who now conduct weekly meetings through Zoom, an internet conference app. Pagel said the superintendents and the construction workers are the only people on the campus work sites now.
Those essential employees have implemented preventive measures such as closing down fenced areas and cancelling group tours, Pagel said. The workers practice social distancing and don’t congregate with 10 or more people for meetings. Pagel added that the employees are monitored daily and have been given strict guidelines to stay home if they’re not feeling well.
Despite restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on the college’s construction sites, they are making great progress, Pagel said.
“When the students come back on campus, they will see a much different campus,” Pagel said.
About a week ago, OCC installed its Sailing Center Bridge across PCH in the middle of the night by shutting down the road while construction workers swung in a bridge across the street. The OCC Sailing Base is near the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. OCC has a rowing center there and plans to build a maritime academy. The recently installed pedestrian bridge has “Mariner’s Mile” written across it.
Back on campus, the frame of the new building between the MBCC and Associated Students Bookstore is up. This three-story building will house Social and Behavioral Sciences classes along with communications, ESL and Literature and Languages classrooms and a new newsroom for the Coast Report.
Construction on the Student Union and College Center Building by Watson Hall continues and the student housing building is still taking applications, according to Pagel.
Over the weekend, the construction team filled up the new swimming pool by the stadium and are now pouring asphalt for the sidewalks. Pagel said the construction fence around the property will come down in the next week or so.
According to Pagel, having the campus closed allows construction workers to move the construction fences farther back to allow for more space which allows them to accelerate work that they wouldn’t have been able to do with all the students on campus.
“We wish them safety and I want to thank them for all of their work in this continued crisis,” Pagel said.